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Old 04-28-2013, 08:58 PM
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Opticians never want to replace lenses: Scam?

Whenever I go to an optician for new lenses, they always strongly resist replacing the lenses in my existing frame. And I often want to keep my frame, not only to save money, but also once I find something I like, I don't want to go hunting for something else—eyeglass frame fashions are very fickle—you almost can never find exactly the same thing you liked before.

But they always say, "See the white spots? That shows that it's dried out and brittle. The frames will break if we try to replace the lenses."

Is this a scam so that they can sell new frames to everyone? Is there any optician that doesn't do this?
Old 04-28-2013, 09:39 PM
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I've gotten new lenses before, instead of new frames. I don't recall any pressure to get new frames either.

Also, our insurance used to cover new lenses every year, but frames every two years (now we can get both each year).
Old 04-28-2013, 09:46 PM
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If you have plastic frames they can eventually become brittle. I've had metal good quality frames for years and have had no problems getting new lenses installed.
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Old 04-28-2013, 09:52 PM
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Yeah, it's a scam. I once tried to get new lenses in old frames from Sam's Club optical, and they said they couldn't do it. Several years later, I went back and had lenses made for frames I bought online, and they said no problem. Apparently something changed.
Old 04-28-2013, 09:59 PM
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Just to offer an experience to support the opticians: I had new lenses put into my favorite set of frames, against the advice of my optometrist, and one side of the frames cracked in two not a month later (he found me a new set of frames that was like the old ones and even gave me a discount, which was going above and beyond). He'd warned me that the old frames were getting brittle, but I dismissed that at the time.
Old 04-28-2013, 10:04 PM
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plastic does deteriorate, especially when exposed to sunlight.

i think that there is lots of strain placed on the plastic in getting the lenses in. it may be true that it might not make it through the lens placement a second time.

i did get one set of plastic frames reused with the same warning. the frames held up and are working into their fourth year, though these weren't outdoor glasses.

it is a problem that a frame goes out of production in five years and the parts not available. they really have become fashion.
Old 04-28-2013, 10:32 PM
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My experience with the 1 hour (plus a few days) retailer of eye wear whose name might begin with L:

I bought horribly overpriced glasses from them. Metal frames. About a year later I had a cataract removed from my right eye and my vision in that eye was corrected. I went back to them and asked if they could replace the right lens with a blank. They claimed they could not do that. They would only replace both lenses. I asked how much that was. They quoted a price of about $400. I took my glasses, walked out and told them I was done with them forever, which I am.

The optical business is probably worse than the used car business for overpricing and rip-offs. Always be wary.
Old 04-28-2013, 10:49 PM
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I've been reusing the same two (inexpensive) identical metal frames for about 8 years (alternating every couple of years) first at Costco and now Walmart. They've never given me any trouble about it whatsoever.
Old 04-29-2013, 12:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R. P. McMurphy View Post
The optical business is probably worse than the used car business for overpricing and rip-offs. Always be wary.
To be fair, the reason glasses are so expensive is because the eye exam costs $25. Do you really think an optometrists time is really only worth $25/hr (before even accounting for all that expensive equipment they buy?)

There's a reason why online shops can sell glasses for $20. It's because they're not doing any of the capital intensive or education intensive parts. They're just selling glasses.
Old 04-29-2013, 12:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Acsenray View Post
Is this a scam so that they can sell new frames to everyone? Is there any optician that doesn't do this?
My optician has never balked at me wanting to just replace my lenses. I wear titanium frames though.

Last edited by Harmonix; 04-29-2013 at 12:57 AM.
Old 04-29-2013, 02:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harmonix View Post
To be fair, the reason glasses are so expensive is because the eye exam costs $25. Do you really think an optometrists time is really only worth $25/hr (before even accounting for all that expensive equipment they buy?)

There's a reason why online shops can sell glasses for $20. It's because they're not doing any of the capital intensive or education intensive parts. They're just selling glasses.
I am pretty sure Eyebuydirect and Zenni have pretty extensive capital intensive investments in warehousing, inventory, manufacturing and infrastructure.
Old 04-29-2013, 02:15 AM
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Originally Posted by astro View Post
I am pretty sure Eyebuydirect and Zenni have pretty extensive capital intensive investments in warehousing, inventory, manufacturing and infrastructure.
And that infrastructure cost is paid for by volume.

I don't think capital costs are very high, as an online business can just drop-ship. They order from their supplier once YOUR order comes in. They keep no, or low inventory on hand.

That, or EyeBuyDirect and Zenni and the warehousing people directly for optometrists/opticians and their direct to buyer online business is just cutting out the middle man optometrist.

In anycase, the reason why glasses are so expensive is because the optometrist is WAY under charging you for the exam. It's not a scam, just a loss-leader to bring customers in.

Once you understand that, you can understand why glasses online are so cheap. I fully recommend buying glasses online if you can figure out your sizing information accurately.
Old 04-29-2013, 02:57 AM
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Originally Posted by bchris964 View Post
Hi Acsenray, it is looking weird when we insist to replace the new lens in old frame the optician resist all the time and almost they refuse to adjust new lens in old one. in my view, it is hard to adjust new lens in old frame because it can't be adjusted perfectly due to its dimensional shapes, width, etc.
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Old 04-29-2013, 03:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Harmonix View Post
I fully recommend buying glasses online if you can figure out your sizing information accurately.
It was a revelation when I looked at Zenni and saw the prices! The sizing part may be an issue for some, though, I agree. I'm just enough of a geek that I've noticed the numbers on the side of my glasses, and asked about them years ago, so I went in to Zenni already "getting" the numbers and what to weed out. (the Zenni frames don't have these numbers, as they're not needed without a third party reseller) Also, my Rx didn't have my pupillary distance noted on it and I had to email my doctor's office a second time for that. It's a good thing I did, too, because when I tried to do it myself or with the help of two other people, we all got different numbers and none of them were the same as what my doctor's office measured with the doohickey.

So yeah, going into online purchasing helps with a little preparation.

I also highly recommend uploading a mugshot style picture of yourself to virtually try on the frames, it's very helpful. I've told many people about my experience, plus with the glasses on my face all the time, it's a ringing endorsement. (two regular pair and sunglasses too) I've gotten four other people on board with Zenni since October. I will mention that these metal frames I bought are a little thinner and "stamped" feeling than my older $250 metal frames, but for the price difference I bought two sets and still came out hundreds of dollars ahead (plus plastic sunglasses, the plastic ones feel the same as any others). I'm certain I will replace them just for fun much more often, even if that's only once a year. Three pairs for $75. Just crazy.

On top of all that, I saw a 60 Minutes segment on the glasses racket by the worldwide manufacturer Luxottica. Since then, I've been incensed and smug at the same time, telling people how cheap mine are and how their $500 D&G's are made by the same company that makes cheapie WalMart frames. Who's fancy now? Ooh, there's a hole in your pocket!
Old 04-29-2013, 05:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeaDragonTattoo View Post
It was a revelation when I looked at Zenni and saw the prices! The sizing part may be an issue for some, though, I agree. I'm just enough of a geek that I've noticed the numbers on the side of my glasses, and asked about them years ago, so I went in to Zenni already "getting" the numbers and what to weed out. (the Zenni frames don't have these numbers, as they're not needed without a third party reseller) Also, my Rx didn't have my pupillary distance noted on it and I had to email my doctor's office a second time for that. It's a good thing I did, too, because when I tried to do it myself or with the help of two other people, we all got different numbers and none of them were the same as what my doctor's office measured with the doohickey.

So yeah, going into online purchasing helps with a little preparation.

I also highly recommend uploading a mugshot style picture of yourself to virtually try on the frames, it's very helpful. I've told many people about my experience, plus with the glasses on my face all the time, it's a ringing endorsement. (two regular pair and sunglasses too) I've gotten four other people on board with Zenni since October. I will mention that these metal frames I bought are a little thinner and "stamped" feeling than my older $250 metal frames, but for the price difference I bought two sets and still came out hundreds of dollars ahead (plus plastic sunglasses, the plastic ones feel the same as any others). I'm certain I will replace them just for fun much more often, even if that's only once a year. Three pairs for $75. Just crazy.

On top of all that, I saw a 60 Minutes segment on the glasses racket by the worldwide manufacturer Luxottica. Since then, I've been incensed and smug at the same time, telling people how cheap mine are and how their $500 D&G's are made by the same company that makes cheapie WalMart frames. Who's fancy now? Ooh, there's a hole in your pocket!
Thanks for the tip, SeaDragonTattoo!
I have to admit, when I first saw your post I thought it sounded a little 'spammy'. Thankfully, your link completely dispelled that assumption.
I had no idea!
Since I'm about to have to purchase new 'eyewear', your post was a great find.
You can 'up your count' of people that you've 'gotten onboard', to five.
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Last edited by JBDivmstr; 04-29-2013 at 05:12 AM.
Old 04-29-2013, 05:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Acsenray View Post
Is this a scam so that they can sell new frames to everyone? Is there any optician that doesn't do this?
I've never had a problem with getting opticians to replace the lenses in my current frames and I've been wearing glasses for about 40 years.

Then again, my current frames are titanium, they're quite rugged. It might be that for some sorts of frames there actually is a problem with breakage when lenses are replaced. Certainly, my sunglasses (which fit over my prescription ones) are made of a cheap plastic that tends to break within the year. Then again, they really are cheap, at least compared to the Rx pair.
Old 04-29-2013, 05:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JBDivmstr View Post
Thanks for the tip, SeaDragonTattoo!
I have to admit, when I first saw your post I thought it sounded a little 'spammy'. Thankfully, your link completely dispelled that assumption.
I had no idea!
Since I'm about to have to purchase new 'eyewear', your post was a great find.
You can 'up your count' of people that you've 'gotten onboard', to five.
You're very welcome. I thought the post was a little long and read like an infomercial, too, but didn't want to cut any of it for those who might need the info. I got the Zenni referral right here on the Dope, there are a couple other threads about finding cheap glasses floating around. The 60 Minutes segment has really stuck with me, it's an incredible racket that company has going!
Old 04-29-2013, 12:16 PM
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I am always suspicious about places that do both the exams and the sale of glasses and contacts. IMHO the surest method is to go to a real ophthalmologist and get a prescription that can be filled anywhere. As I learned through recent experience, it's also a good idea to keep a copy of the prescription so that if you break your glasses while traveling you can get a replacement easily.
Old 04-29-2013, 03:34 PM
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I can bring them a prescription from my ophthalmologist and they will still refuse to reuse the old frames. There goes the explanation in terms of the optometrist's time for an exam. My prescription is too complicated for an online optometrist (they don't deal with prisms--in fact my nearest optometrist that my wife uses never heard of prisms). But it seems to me that they are primarily in the business of selling horribly overpriced frames.

When I was 15 I got a pair of glasses with wire frames. I did get the lenses replaced a couple times (in the good old days that you could). Those frames lasted until my grandson stepped on them 17 years ago, when I was 59. So they lasted, and I used the same prescription for 44 years. The latest scam is to refuse to fill a prescription more than a year old.
Old 06-26-2015, 03:39 PM
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Hello, my name is Duane and have been making eyeglasses lenses for over 25 years.

Any optical that you take you glasses to should be able to replace your lenses or lens. if the are not happy with the condition of your frame they should have you sign a waver stating they are not responsible for your frame.

The secret to extending the life of your frame is to keep them clean and free of any oils or dirt that may get on the frames from your skin or just placing them down some where. Best way is to take them in the shower and clean them when you clean your self. Keeping the frame clean will help the plastic frames from drying out and cracking and the metal frames from breaking. you should keep them in the case when not using them and never keep them in a hot car.

Some times they do have to make both lenses, when its a bifocal or progressive lens both lenses should be made so they can match the prescription in the same spot in your lens or to match the same type of progressive.

The main reason the lenses cost so much is because these doctor and optical have very large over head. The equipment to do the pretest and the eye exam is very expensive. Also rent, staff, eletric the list goes on. I worked for one Dr. that spent over 10,000 a month in just aversiteing. One person said it rite when you look at the low price they charge for that eye exam that is just to get you in the door. Eye exams should be $89

some of these online places are also just Doctor or optical branching out and selling online cheaper that they do in the office.

I dont understand the prism thing any optical online or retail should be able to make glasses with prism. I do all the time.

I dont know if this help. But its what I know. If you have any question about the condition of your frame or a lens question feel free to ask. and send a pic of the frame.
Old 06-26-2015, 04:23 PM
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My local places will give you new lenses, but they will charge almost as much as they do for a complete pair of glasses.

What I'd like to know is why won't the online places such as Zenni put new lenses in old frames? I'd rather send in some frames I know I like rather than spend hours shopping online and then having to try on and send back a bunch of them.
Old 06-26-2015, 06:10 PM
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Originally Posted by bugwiz View Post
Hello, my name is Duane and have been making eyeglasses lenses for over 25 years.

Any optical that you take you glasses to should be able to replace your lenses or lens. if the are not happy with the condition of your frame they should have you sign a waver stating they are not responsible for your frame.

The secret to extending the life of your frame is to keep them clean and free of any oils or dirt .
Plastic dried out its plasticizers, and absorbs the reactive oils from skin lotions, skin, food.

Both metal and plastic fatigue with strain,and changes in strain, which is twisting, stretching and squashing, caused by use and by changes in temperature.

Both metal and plastics can crack more easily if there is a small scratch to the surface.

The thread used to tighten the frame, to hold the lenses in, is basically single use for this reason. When the screw is removed, the thread may well break away. This is not the same as replacing a lost screw, if the screw is lost then probably that event was due to the screw not being tightened properly to start with, so anecdotes of replacing screws are not disproof of the "single use" property.. if the screws are stuck in really firm, they have "used" the thread and that thread is one use..

So yep, those frames are cats with one life. They are only designed to last two years.. planned obsolesces was invented quite a while ago.

Last edited by Isilder; 06-26-2015 at 06:10 PM.
Old 06-26-2015, 06:46 PM
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I've often gotten the lenses replaced in frames-- frames that were more than two years old, too. I've been wearing glasses for 55 years.
Old 06-26-2015, 06:53 PM
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I thought, up until very recently, that optometrists were running a scam of some sort. They would usually, but not always, refuse to re-use frames which I liked but also I'd never get an eye examination without them telling me my vision had deteriorated and I would need a new prescription.

Until last week. Glaucoma test - good. Examination for MD - good. Vision - no change. Walked out of OPSM very happy indeed.
Old 06-26-2015, 07:41 PM
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They don't want to do it because it's less profitable than selling you a new pair.

They'll come up with all kinds of excuses to avoid doing it. Mostly the bigger chains simply don't have "sale" pricing for lenses-only.
Old 06-26-2015, 08:16 PM
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I joined Costco, partly because I thought the glasses might be cheaper. My optometrist had retired, so I used the one with an office just outside Costco. (She's totally independent.) The Costco glasses weren't that great & I let my membership lapse because I don't need to buy Mass Quantities of everything. But I've kept the optometrist because she is very thorough--and covered by my insurance.

My glasses aren't covered but I have a fairly simple prescription. So I use a local optician--all they do is make glasses. They have vintage frames, last season's "pricey" frames & some cool, cheap lines. Very quick service--and I like trying on all the options. Also, last time I sat on my glasses, they were able to unbend them very nicely. I'm sure they'd re-use frames, but I enjoy getting a new pair occasionally so I'll have options. (My prescription is pretty stable.)
Old 06-26-2015, 11:14 PM
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Originally Posted by thirdname View Post
What I'd like to know is why won't the online places such as Zenni put new lenses in old frames? I'd rather send in some frames I know I like rather than spend hours shopping online and then having to try on and send back a bunch of them.
39dollarglasses.com will do this. They call it "re-lensing."

I did this once with some metal frames I liked, and the result was excellent. The frames looked better than they did when I sent them in; I think they must have given them an ultrasonic cleaning.
Old 06-27-2015, 11:30 AM
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I also got some new glasses from a company whose name started with "L" (mentioned above), and my experience was totally different. I had just had a cataract operation, and the right eye was now completely different from what the original lens was made for. Before I got totally new glasses, I had to wait several months for the eye to stabilize, so I asked L. if they could replace the old right-hand lens with a plain one that had no correction. They were glad to do this, and charged a small amount, I think around 40 bucks. I had two other sets, one for reading and one for use at the computer terminal. For these I had L. just pop out the old lens and leave the opening vacant. They did this at no charge.

BTW - if any of you are thinking of having cataract surgery, go for it! The results were spectacular, with no discomfort at any time. I would a lot rather have a cataract removed than have a root canal.
Old 06-27-2015, 11:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Daylate View Post
BTW - if any of you are thinking of having cataract surgery, go for it! The results were spectacular, with no discomfort at any time. I would a lot rather have a cataract removed than have a root canal.
I had both eyes done a few years ago and the result was instant and dramatic. The operation was a bit cringy? as you have to lay back, wide awake, while the surgeon does things to your eyeball. It does not hurt though.

After the op, I find that my distance vision is perfect, but I do need 1.5x reading glasses. I buy these from Amazon and they come from Hong Kong. At 3.50GBP each, I treat them as disposable and they usually last about six months. They have a hard life - in and out of my pocket.

In the UK, opticians are obliged to hand over the prescription after a test, which means that we can then take that anywhere we like to buy frames and lenses.

Last edited by bob++; 06-27-2015 at 11:44 AM.
Old 06-27-2015, 01:01 PM
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How hard is it to buff scratches out? The "L" chain mentioned above said they can't do that, that I had to buy a whole new pair (which I've taken care of like they're the crown jewels).
Old 06-28-2015, 02:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Sarabellum1976 View Post
They don't want to do it because it's less profitable than selling you a new pair.

They'll come up with all kinds of excuses to avoid doing it. Mostly the bigger chains simply don't have "sale" pricing for lenses-only.
The smaller chain I deal with would always say that the frames I picked out were "the last ones" of that model. I suspect they got showroom frames in and only bought frames when a particular model was very popular.

Some time ago I got wise to that and ordered a dozen of those exact "discontinued" frames from a wholesaler online (they're still available - so much for "discontinued"). Since then, I just have either the new lenses put into my existing frames, or if the frames are in poor shape, I'll bring them a new set and keep the old frames for spare parts.

This was apparently so unusual for them that they still give me the "second pair free" on the lenses, even though I haven't bought frames from them in years. Either that or they have really good profit margins on the lenses.
Old 06-28-2015, 04:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Harmonix View Post
To be fair, the reason glasses are so expensive is because the eye exam costs $25. Do you really think an optometrists time is really only worth $25/hr (before even accounting for all that expensive equipment they buy?)
Really, $75 per hour (still underpaid), but I've never had an optometrist eye exam take more than 15 minutes or so, and that's including talking with him about his weekend flying experiences.

My local chain is dirt cheap... the insurance glasses are crap, and the non-insurance glasses are reasonably-priced. Okay, not internet pricing, but a real bargain compared to the big L company. Last time I was home I overslept my appointment (jet lag). I went in, apologized, offered to pay for the missed appointment, and they wouldn't hear of it. Fit me in right then and there.

They know I live overseas, and had no problem nor got defensive when I asked for my prescription including PD. They know I'll be back.
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